March 28, 2006

Work, Work, Work!

Like most uninvited and unwelcome visitors, Cyclone Larry left us a big mess to clean up.

The kitchen skylight developed a persistant leak and the TV antenna was totalled. Both have been replaced as insurance claims.

We've been working our butts off, trying to get the yard back to a semblance of order. It's looking pretty good...just so long as you stop before you enter the treed area at the back of the garden - from then on in it's pretty chaotic.

We lost approximately 12 tree in the blow and have removed a couple of others since, that didn't look too safe. There's a lot of really big palm fronds to come down yet, but they are out of reach. It's going to be a case of keeping a careful eye out, when we venture close to them. If it hadn't been for our neighbours, we would never have cleared the yard on our own. Mick came over the day after the storm and started helping me clean up. The next afternoon he came with his two teenaged sons and they got stuck in with the chain saw. The pile of vegetation on the nature strip, out the front of the house was huge...Rob and I have added a lot more during the week too. Monday, the Council clean-up team took it all away. It nearly filled the back of a 10tonne truck.

The Insurance company gave us the go-ahead to get a fig tree removed from the back yard. It totally uprooted and fell on the dividing fence, so they will, thankfully pay for it. The quote was for $1650...and that doesn't include the root boll, which is too heavy for the tree loppers to move. At a later date, we will have to find a backhoe or somesuch, big enough to handle it. (again an insurance job)

I can't believe how lucky we are. When I see the devastation of other coastal towns and the towns on the Atherton Tablelands atop the mountains, it's hard to believe that we got off so lightly. The winds were Catagory 4 here in Gordonvale but they were Cat.5 at the centre. I'm not sorry we didn't get to experience them. It's going to take years to rebuild those areas and many, many years for some of the farmers to have a crop again. Sugar Cane and Bananas will be back within 18 months, but Avocado, Mango, Macadamia Nuts and other tropical fruits can take 7 yrs before the trees are mature enough to fruit. Milk quality will drop too, until pastures return to their previous condition. It looks like a pretty lean time for a lot of people - so many are jobless because the agricultural side has sustained such heavy damage. It's a time for taking stock and realising that we can help, even if it is only by going through our wardrobes and donating things we don't wear.

Many of our State Emergency Service personel and our Council workers, who are involved in cleaning up the towns that have been worst hit, are at burn out level. My son Karl, is working in Babinda...he has a chain saw licence...he's working from 6am to 6pm every day, including week-ends, and he's worn out. He thinks that it's going to take at least 3-4months before the clean up is finished. It's going to be a continual drain on the physical rescorces of the willing - I just hope that others will step in and give them time to recover.

Today is fine, weatherwise. It's been just over a week since Larry and this looks like it might be the first day that we don't have rain. I'm not taking bets on it, but it looks OK so far, though there are a few dark clouds heading our way.

It's nice to be able to find a few minutes to post. I've been slack, so far this year, with no excuses. Funny isn't it...now I'm busy as all get out, I decide to use my break time to post. I really am just a little odd!

Speak with you soon,

Vickie.


Posted by Midus at 10:39 AM

March 07, 2006

The Week that Wasn't.

On reflection, I can't seem to think of anything I've achieved over the last week...other than a shopping trip to Cairns last Friday.

Rob and I went to the movies last Monday, thanks to free tickets from his work. I did my usual trick of agreeing to go on Sunday and then changing my mind. I'm glad we finally did go, because it was well worth the drive to the City. We saw 'Mrs. Henderson Presents' starring Dame Judy Dench and Bob Hoskins. It's the story of how the Windmill Theatre, in London, came into being. We both loved it and can thoroughly recommend it to those of you who don't need a movie to be non stop action and violence.

It's still raining here. The monsoon trough has finally arrived to give us our annual drenching. We were beginning to think that we were going to be in real trouble, but it's here and water for the rest of the year should be OK. I hear they are planning on putting in a new dam, but so far it's only talk and I don't think any location has been nominated.

This Summer has been appalling! The humidity and heat have been disgusting. Both Rob and myself have been suffering with skin conditions bought on by being continually damp. On top of that, I managed to fire up an allergy that I'd all but forgotten. On Friday, while I was shopping, I stopped for a sandwich. I had egg/lettuce and mayo...sounds pretty mundane eh? Later in the evening, I asked Rob what he felt like for dinner. Not being particularly hungry, he said "Scrambled eggs." I scrambled 8 eggs and that's what we had. It wasn't long after that, that I started to itch and my eyes began to become irritated. It's been 20years since I've had any sort of reaction to eggs, so I'd thought I was over it. Wrong! I guess the equivalent of 6 or more eggs in one day was just too much for the system! It's now 5 days later and I'm still not totally rid of the problem.

One of the worst parts of the egg fiasco, was that I had to bow out of an RPG session. That's right...we've finally found a couple to game with! It's only taken 13mths. I knew how much Rob has been hanging out to GM again, so I insisted that he go. He toddled off to Simon and Cristals house at about 10.30am. First off, he and Simon went into town to do some grocery shopping. S&C don't drive and have 4 small girls, so I think they were more than happy to not have to take the bus. I understand that Simon has a rather large thumb and that's the excuse he has for missing some of the items on the list!

Rob tells me that they later watched some wrestling on pay TV before starting the game. The game was "Dogs in the Vineyard"...for a detailed report, please check out Rob's website...you'll find a link to it on my menu. He arrived home at about 6.30pm, totally wired. He and Zelda went for a run to get rid of the excess energy that both of them had generated during the day. He came back in a far more relaxed state...thank goodness!!!

Sunday, Karl (son) arrived with a friend and they, together with Rob, loaded the ute with the garden refuse, accumulated over the last two months. It took two trips to the dump, but it's finally gone. Later, the three of them took off and came back with a full load of concrete sleepers for me. The plan is to use them to 'pave' an area down the back yard. It's close to the site where my vege garden will be...after it's cleared of the ever present weeds. We also have some pavers to lay as stepping stones, along the pathways through the trees.

Poor Zelda has a problem. The bloody Indian Minah birds are continually swooping at her, whenever she goes into the garden. She usually ignores them, but it's pretty difficult to do, when she's attending to calls of nature. I curse the stupid person who introduced these 'Rats of the bird world' into Australia. I don't think there's one state that they've not invaded.

Later on Sunday, my daughter Deena and her SO Peter arrived and stayed on for dinner. Rob and I are always happy to see them. We had our usual good time together. Rob remarked later that he had really Lucked On, when he joined our family. It's so nice to have them all get on so well together. Families are great ... when they work!

Enough of my rambling. Time for me to tackle my wardrobes! I'm finally going to go through my clothes and dispose of a lot of them. I'll never wear most of them again, so better they go to someone who can use them.

See you soon,
Vickie.

Posted by Midus at 09:01 AM